What should my student use for literature when using World History for 11th grade?

Dear Carrie

What should my student use for literature if she is using the World History guide for 11th grade?

Dear Carrie,

I have always loved your book choices! However, my oldest will be a junior next year. Sadly, she won’t be able to finish all of the high school guides. She is using Heart of Dakota’s World Geography for 10th grade. Next year when she is a junior, she will be using World History. I am wondering if I should just follow the literature path you have laid out in World History? Since we’ve used Heart of Dakota since she’s been in 5th grade, she has obviously read tons of great books! I just don’t want to miss some of the classics that she should have. So, my question is, what are your thoughts on what she should use for literature if she is using World History for 11th grade?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Unsure About Literature When Using World History for 11th Grade”

Dear “Ms. Unsure About Literature When Using World History for 11th Grade,”

As far as the novels for the literature portion, I made a point to put novels I consider especially important in the opening guides of the high school program. The novels in the World Geography guide are classics that are a tremendous stepping stone to the more difficult reading and difficult themes found in the World History guide’s literature.

The novels in the World History literature plans are memorable and timeless.

I believe many of the novels in the literature portion of the World History guide are unmatched for their quality and their themes, while still being enjoyable to read. They are memorable and timeless, lingering in the mind long after the book is completed.  They have stood the test of time and remain classics today.

I had my oldest son read several of these books as a senior, as I didn’t have the rest of the high school guides written, and I felt these novels were not to be missed.

I felt these novels were so important that I had my oldest son read several on that list when he was a senior (as I didn’t have all of the high school guides written yet). This was simply because I did not want him to exit high school without experiencing those books. He read Ben-Hur, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Les Miserables (along with other novels I added for his final year of high school). They were some of his favorite books of that year. My husband read all 3 as well, simply because our son was so enthused about them. I cannot say enough about these titles. The life lessons to be learned as students read these books, the quotable lines of the characters, the rich language, and the allusions to the Bible in these books are amazing.

Thoughts on The Scarlet Pimpernel and Pearl Maiden

My oldest son also chose to read several sequels to The Scarlet Pimpernel. This was simply because he loved the first one so much! In fact, my husband greatly enjoyed The Scarlet Pimpernel too. My older sister, who was a high school literature teacher and has homeschooled her 7 kiddos, said it was one of her favorites of all time.  This makes The Scarlet Pimpernel a winner here. Our son had read the other books on the World History literature list in previous years, with the exception of Pearl Maiden, which we included because of its terrific themes and because it is a great Haggard book (much preferred by me over Haggard’s classic King Solomon’s Mines, which I did not like due to its dark violence).

Thoughts on A Man for All Seasons

After watching the movie version of A Man for All Seasons, and having our pastor refer to it in a sermon, my husband and I discovered that play was such a picture into the time of Henry the VIII that it had to be included. What a classic I found it to be after I read it alongside the study of that time period! It brings up another side to Cranmer and Luther and another side to the conflict between the Church of England and the Catholic Church. This book too shows up on many classic book lists for a reason!

Thoughts on King Arthur

I believe reading about the legend of King Arthur, even with the character of Merlin, is important. This is because the legends of Arthur are a part of understanding medieval times. They show Britain at a time when the Christian religion was overtaking the religion of the Celtic Druids of the past. Known for his themes of bravery, honor, and love, Howard Pyle’s Arthur with his noble traits illustrates the selflessness a king should have for his people. It was for these traits that Arthur is remembered in legend, and those legends show up in so many ways everywhere! Please note that this is the only version of the Arthurian legends that we recommend!

Thoughts on Julius Caesar and Animal Farm

Julius Caesar is one of the “tamer” of Shakespeare’s plays innuendo-wise. It also omits the bawdy humor that is found in other Shakespeare plays. Exploring the issue of how the thirst for power affects those who desire it is a good life lesson that comes out in Julius Caesar. Furthermore, the play draws you in with the inner-workings of who is really able to be trusted as you see the conspiracy play out (and watch its aftermath). Animal Farm is a book that really shows socialism in a way that students will never forget. It is terrific to read along with the time period of WWII, which is where I included it.

Thoughts on The Celestial Railroad

The Celestial Railroad is a wonderful book to read after reading Pilgrim’s Progress. This is because Hawthorne’s version of travel to the Celestial City has been updated to reflect modern times. Travelers no longer have to walk to the city but can instead travel by train. Their burdens are no longer carried on their backs but instead are stowed in the luggage compartment! When Celestial Railroad is read as students are completing Pilgrim’s Progress, it has a huge impact! I chose to end the year with Celestial Railroad for this reason.

In Closing

As you can see, I wouldn’t want your student to miss the books on the World History literature list. I feel they are amazing classics that all students should read. In closing, I would recommend having your daughter use the World History literature this year. Truly, I hope she enjoys it as much as our sons did!

Blessings,
Carrie

 

Extension Package: More Mature Reading, Follow-up Skills, and Assignments for Older Students

Dear Carrie

Is the Extension Package just an extra set of books, or does it include skills that are pertinent to students being older?

Dear Carrie,

I used Heart of Dakota and loved it! We then put our daughters in public school due to health problems. But, I’m excited to be returning! I looked at the placement chart. My daughters place best in Preparing Hearts for His Glory. My daughter, who is in 4th grade this year, is a very slow reader.  On the contrary, my daughter in 5th grade is a very advanced reader. However, due to the writing, both of them are not ready for Creation to Christ. So, I have placed them in Preparing Hearts for His Glory.  My question is about the Extension Package.  Is the Extension Package just a set of more books? If so, I probably will just let her choose other books on her own. Or, does the Extension Package include reading and assignments that are pertinent to her being a 5th grader?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help Explain the Extension Package”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Explain the Extension Package,”

The Extension Packages are so much more than just extra books to read. I’m glad you asked!  If you have a child in the extension range, they are actually a needed part of the program. This is because I chose the books to show a different part of history or a different point of view than what is being covered elsewhere in the history study. The books are designed to deepen the study in this manner.

Older students in the extension package age range need to be reading their own history at a higher reading level.

The books are also intended for the student to be reading on his/her own in order to raise the reading level of the history material being studied by the older child. This is necessary in Preparing, because if you are still reading aloud the history as scheduled in the guide, an older child should also be reading his/her own history material.

Follow-up assignments are designed to address higher level skills for older students.

The oral narrations, written narrations, and notebook assignments are designed to address skills that an older student should be practicing and showing progress in due to their age level. These assignments aren’t meant to be optional for an older student. So, if you choose to forego the extension books for a child in the extension range of a program, you are missing the part of the program that makes it extend for that age level.

Extension package book are interesting, engaging, and enjoyable.

Finally, the extension books are also very interesting and engaging, and kiddos who do the extension books do truly enjoy them!  If you have a child in the extension range, you should plan for these books to be a daily part of Preparing Hearts as intended. Drawn into the Heart of Reading is the place to allow your daughter to read books of her own choosing. DITHR works with any books you choose and will work well in that capacity for your older daughter.

Blessings,

Carrie

P. S. To read more about Heart of Dakota, click here!

 

Should I combine my high school students for electives?

Dear Carrie

Should I combine my high school students for electives, or is this more of a headache?

Dear Carrie,

I am wondering if I should combine my high school students for electives next year? My son will be doing Heart of Dakota’s World Geography in 9th grade. My daughter will be doing Heart of Dakota’s World History in 10th grade. So, I could have my 9th grader skip World Religion and Cultures (WRC) and Logic, to do Fine Arts and Health with his older sister. I had her do the WRC study and Logic this year. I would then have him do those two credits as a senior, since he will have done all the rest of the electives alongside his sister. The bonus would be that by that time, his younger brother would be in 9th grade, so he could do those with him. Would there be any benefit to choosing to combine my high school students for electives, or would it be more of a headache? Thanks so much for your help, Carrie!

Sincerely,

“Ms. to Combine or Not to Combine for Electives”

Dear “Ms. to Combine or Not to Combine for Electives,”

I can definitely see the reasons why you are considering combining your students for electives!  I’ll share a few thoughts that may help as you ponder what is right for your family. From a typical school perspective, electives are often just what they are named… elective credits.  In other words, these are credits that your student (or you as the parent) elect to include. These typically are not as necessary or as important as the required coursework.

HOD electives complement or enhance the credits already being earned in the rest of the guide.

I think what makes HOD electives unique is we designed the elective credits within each HOD guide to complement or enhance credits already being earned in the rest of the guide. So, we chose them to specifically be done in a certain year of study because they are more meaningful when combined with the other learning within the guide. We weighed subject content, time period, topic, or previous knowledge that we desire the student to have exposure to prior to completing the elective.

The World Religions and Cultures elective is partnered well with World Geography.

For example, the World Religions and Cultures elective will make much more sense and contain deeper connections when completed alongside the World Geography study. I wrote the two courses to complement one another. This foundation in World Religions and Cultures is also hugely helpful to have prior to progressing into World History the following year.

The Health elective is partnered well with World History’s Biology.

Another example is the Health elective in the World History guide. This study was written alongside the Biology study because the two courses complement each other very well. I also wouldn’t want a child below the World History level to study the Health too early, as it contains many mature topics that are better suited for an older student who is also currently studying the content within a biology course.

The Fine Arts elective pairs well with World History, and the Government and Constitutional Literacy electives pair well with USI.

The Fine Arts elective in the World History guide pairs very well with the study of World History. This is because study of the art and artists makes so much more sense within the framework of the study of history. Yet another example is the Government and Constitutional Literacy credits within the USI guide. The Constitutional Literacy credit is very challenging and definitely needs the Government study alongside it in order to make sense of what is being studied about the Constitution and the law. Both have overlap with the U.S. History study, and so together the three work to provide a fuller picture of the formation and governing of our nation.

Elective credits get progressively more difficult.

Another aspect of elective credit that is different in HOD is that the credits get progressively more difficult as the student’s critical thinking abilities, maturity, and level of academic skills rise. This is an often overlooked aspect when selecting electives, but in HOD it is very important. For example, the Logic study within the World Geography guide is scheduled at a time when students are ready to think more critically and logically. The fallacies students learn to spot in this guide are excellent training in how to think sequentially and logically, which is of benefit as students progress in the guides into more assignments that require these skills.

The World Religions and Cultures credit in the first year of study is meant to be easier than the Fine Arts and Health credits that are in the second year of study. The Government and Constitutional Literacy credits are meant to be much more challenging than the previous credits, which is why they are scheduled within the third year of study. Students below the third year of study would find these courses quite difficult, without first gaining the skills and knowledge within the World History guide (of various governments and types of law in past history – and their positives and negatives – and resulting successes or failures.)

Credits rise in difficulty and connect to other subjects.

So, within HOD, credits such as these are selected to rise in difficulty and to connect to other subjects scheduled within the guide. To do these credits out of order means that the harder credits may be done before we planned and that the easier credits may be done later than we planned. It also means that the connections and foundation we are planning for the student to have will not be there.

Electives play an important part in the intended balance within each guide.

The last thing to consider is the balance within each guide and the role that the elective credits play within that balance. Just as within any other HOD guide, all areas within the high school HOD guides are designed to complement and balance one another in reading level, quantity of pages, whether or not DVD viewing is included, the involvement level of the parent in the subject, the amount of writing required to complete the subject, and the way the assessments are handled. When courses are shifted from one guide to another, this balance is affected.

Elective credits are to be used in order, if possible, for these reasons.

So, while you can certainly do as desired with these credits, when writing the guide it was not my intention that the elective credits be used out of order for these reasons. It is no different in high school, with HOD, than it is with previous guides when it comes to borrowing subjects from one guide to add to another. It would honestly be easier to borrow a language arts, math, or science credit from another guide than it would be to shift around many of the elective credits.

I realize families who need only certain credits for graduation may need to tweak credits.

I do realize that for some families coming late to HOD, or for those families who need only certain specific credits for graduation, there may be more tweaking involved to get the needed credits. In those situations, my advice would differ in order to help the families get the credits they need in the least confusing way. I was thinking though, based on what you’d shared thus far, that wasn’t the situation you were asking about for your family. I hope this helps as you ponder what to do with electives!

Blessings,

Carrie

Charlotte Mason’s Method of Studied Dictation

Dear Carrie

In Charlotte Mason’s method of dictation, what does a student do next if she spelled everything right in the passage?

Dear Carrie,

I am new to Charlotte Mason’s method of dictation, though I have read many good things about it. I’m excited to try Charlotte Mason’s method of dictation with Heart of Dakota! My daughter is beginning Bigger Hearts for His Glory. She does fairly well with spelling. I am wondering if she passes the first dictation passage, if I have her move on to the next passage? Or, if I see she passes the dictation passage, do I tell her she is done with spelling for the week? If it is the former, what do I have her do if we run out of dictation passages?  So, I guess my question is, in Charlotte Mason’s method of dictation, what does a student do next if she spelled everything right in the passage?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help Me with Charlotte Mason’s Method  of Dictation”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me with Charlotte Mason’s Method of Dictation,”

This is such a good question about dictation!  I struggled with this question too until I read more about Charlotte Mason’s style of studied dictation. Her emphasis within dictation is actually on the studying of the passage in order to fix it within one’s mind. In essence, students practice the habit of making a mental or a photographic image of the text. They pay special attention to how the words are spelled, where the capital letters are found, which punctuation marks are used, and where the punctuation marks are in the sentence.

Poor spellers have often seen a word spelled incorrectly in their own writing so many times that the misspelled word looks ‘right’ to them.

I found Charlotte Mason’s studied dictation methods to be so interesting!  In my days as a public school teacher, it was that very skill that was lacking for poor spellers. They had no idea whether a word looked right or not, which is often the technique used by natural spellers to tell whether a word is spelled correctly. The poor spellers had seen the word spelled incorrectly so many times in their own writing that the wrong spelling actually looked right.

Spelling programs that incorrectly spell words within spelling exercises reinforce incorrect spelling.

It is amazing to me how many spelling programs have a section where kiddos are asked to find the incorrectly spelled word within the spelling exercises!  Students are then, in essence, taking a mental picture of the incorrect spelling. Charlotte Mason would find this to be a poor activity, as it reinforces incorrect spelling. She was very adamant that any word spelled incorrectly be covered up and fixed immediately. This way, students do not fix the wrong image within the mind.

Students trained to capture the correct image of words, sentences, and passages in their minds have a powerful tool in spelling.

Training the mind to capture a correct image of a word, sentence, and eventually passage is a powerful tool in spelling. It is often a tool that does more for kiddos who have struggled with spelling in the past, than any amount of memorizing rules does. I found this idea to be amazing! It is one that I had never heard during my years of training as a teacher, yet it makes so much sense. And, what’s more, it really works! I was so surprised to find that studied dictation was the method used for spelling here in America in the early 1900’s. It is a tried and true method for spelling. I think your daughter is sure to enjoy Charlotte Mason’s method of studied dictation!

Blessings,

Carrie

P.S. To find out more about Heart of Dakota, click here!

 

Orally Narrating from a Living Book with Multiple Proper Nouns

Dear Carrie

How can I help my daughter orally narrate from a living book with multiple proper nouns and less of a ‘flow’ of one storyline?

Dear Carrie,

We have completed Unit 2 of Heart of Dakota’s high school World Geography. I’m happy to say my daughter is enjoying it and doing well! Having said that, I’ve looked ahead and read some of A Book of Discovery myself. I can see this book is living, but it doesn’t have the same ‘flow’ of one storyline as some of the other living books. Though it is narrative, the author uses a huge quantity of proper nouns. Some we’ve heard of, and some not. I see in Unit 3, you walk students through a model of sorts to categorize the information. Extremely helpful, Carrie – thank you! So, I now come to my question. How can I help my daughter orally narrate from a living book with lots of proper nouns and less of a ‘flow’ of one storyline?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help with Narrating a Living Book with Multiple Proper Nouns”

Dear “Ms. Please Help with Narrating a Living Book with Multiple Proper Nouns,”

This is a great question! As we head into the high school years, the books do get more challenging! They do include more proper nouns in the form of names, dates, places, etc. So, while I agree this is a living book, I also agree that it has a more challenging feel to it with all of the factual information wound within its pages. You will also notice as you progress through this book that the chapters vary as to how many different episodes or events are contained within them. Consequently, your student’s narrations will really vary as well!

Students practice different types of oral narrations and eventually learn which type fits each book the best.

Learning to narrate from a book such as this is great practice, as the coming books at the high school level will contain this upped level of challenge too. You will notice that we vary the types of oral narrations in this guide, teaching 5 different types of oral narrations. In World History, we teach 6 types. In U.S. History I, we teach 7 types of oral narration. Finally, in U.S. History II, we teach 8 types of oral narration. This just shows that when narrating, there are many different ways to approach narration (and they are all viable). But, as students practice these varying types of narrating, they will also eventually learn what type of narration best fits each type of book.

In U.S. History I, we take the 7 types of oral narrations and have students practice 7 different types of written narrations.

To give you a glimpse down the road, in the U.S. History I guide, we also take those 7 types of oral narrations and have kiddos practice doing 7 different types of written narrations. We purposefully wait until the U.S. History I guide to have students do this task, as we are desiring for them to practice orally narrating in various ways for years prior to doing a specific type of written narration. We are also desiring for students to have much practice in open-ended written narrations prior to be asked to write a specific type of written narration.

Students can experiment with different kinds of written narrations in World Geography, which will help their oral narrations.

So, with all of this in mind, I would encourage your daughter to experiment with her written narrations in the World Geography guide. It is fine to try summary-style narrations and descriptive narrations. It is fine to narrate more fully upon one episode that struck her or to insert her opinions within the narrations. She can practice in learning to use transition sentences as well, as she tries to link the paragraphs in their narration together in a cohesive fashion.

These skills students hone as they try to figure out how to narrate in writing upon a variety of authors and styles is good practice for future learning. They will truly sift and sort and find what works for each book they encounter, but it takes time to find the pattern that works for each author. The skills are in the sifting and sorting and are also in borrowing some of the author’s style!

Students’ practice with different oral narrations makes the transition to different written narrations seamless.

To encourage you, I will share that I saw the fruit of all the different oral narrations in my own son. When he began the U.S. History I guide, he did not balk at writing the written narrations in a certain style each week. The oral narrations he had practiced for years earlier made the transition seamless. I could also see that his wheels were turning as to what type of narration would work best for each type of book. That son is now in college and just recently passed the CLEP test for English Composition quite easily!

So, these skills taught in World Geography on up are great life preparation and great college preparation too. They prepare kiddos to write at the drop of a hat in a variety of styles in response to all different types of authors. It is a very different education than the one that I received, but I have seen the benefits firsthand!

Blessings,

Carrie